MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND ON SKID ROW: DPSS STAFF VOLUNTEER
One-hundred-fifty employees from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) volunteered their Saturday morning over Mother’s Day weekend to inspire hope at their annual “Help the Homeless” event at the Weingart Center in downtown L.A.
In partnership with AmazonSmile, DPSS volunteers touched the lives of over 1,000 homeless residents by serving 1,500 barbecue lunches, and distributing 12 pallets of clothing, 400 snack kits, and 2,000 hygiene kits in an uplifting festival atmosphere set up along Crocker Street.
The Weingart Center’s community garden area also received a much-need facelift through beautification projects, including painting benches and seats in colorful hues, cleaning up the garden beds and planting fresh flowers and succulent plants. Hollywood Mobile Grooming also provided free dog grooming services for those with pets.
DPSS Director Antonia Jiménez and Weingart President and CEO, former State Senator Kevin Murray, joined volunteers for an early morning gathering in the garden, prior to deploying to several other service locations, including the Fred Jordan Mission, MacArthur Park and portions of the L.A. River. They offered words of encouragement to the volunteers.
“Each of you plays a valuable role in helping our most vulnerable families and individuals each day,” Jiménez said. “From our Homeless Case Managers to our Skid Row Access Team, our Department provides critical resources to the community.”
Since its launch by the DPSS Volunteer Services Program three years ago, the “Help the Homeless” continues to grow. Its success has also received the attention of some major corporations that have made commitments to support it, including Amazon Web Services (AWS).
This year, AmazonSmile, the charity donation site created by AWS, donated 1,000 tote bags valued at over $4,000 and set up an online portal for accepting donations at toydrive.lacounty.gov to make it easy to donate needed items. AmazonSmile will donate half a percent from any eligible item purchased from a list of available items.
Outlining the critical role DPSS plays in serving the county’s most vulnerable residents, Jiménez referred to the 2018 L.A. County Homeless Count, indicating that on any given night 52,765 individuals are homeless and that three out of four people remain unsheltered.
DPSS Outreach teams provided information about Medi-Cal and CalFresh Program benefits and collected applications onsite. Other County departments provided onsite resources, including Mental Health, Public Health, Public Defender’s Office, Fire, Military and Veterans Affairs, 211, Chrysalis, JWCH Health Services, Benevolence Health Care, along with the L.A. City Library.
Generous donations provided by Melissa’s Produce, Domino’s Pizza, Target, Costco, Ralphs, Home Depot, Smart and Final, Stater Brothers, Farmer John’s, Don Francisco, Gavina Coffee, and Urban Design LA supported the event.